Cancel Donald Trump’s UK state visit as a sanction for his abuse of children’s rights

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In September 2016, all 193 Member States of the United Nations committed to working towards ending immigration detention of children.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely and rapidly ratified international human rights treaty in history. Only the United States has not ratified the agreement out of all 193 member states. 

The Convention sets in international law that States Parties must ensure that all children—without discrimination in any form—benefit from special protection measures and assistance. The Convention establishes that children must be treated as children, first and foremost.

These measures among other things, include that children: have access to services such as education and health care; can develop their personalities, abilities and talents to the fullest potential; grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding.

President Donald Trump’s recent withdrawal from the UN and his policy on the separation of immigrant children from their parents and their detention for unspecified periods, demonstrates his continued contempt to be held accountable to the international community. The trauma experienced by children being torn from their parents and detained in a prison environment amounts to nothing less than systematic organisational abuse. 

As a counsellor I experience the impact of childhood trauma carried through into adulthood and how this effects an adult’s ability to form and maintain healthy, mutually beneficial relationships. Enforced separation and deprivation of the ability to develop as a free child triggers an immediate trauma response that is unconscionable for a free world leader to endorse and actively promote. 

As a mother witnessing the distress of these children I can only imagine how that feels as a parent to have your child treated as a criminal and not being able to provide comfort or solace.

If this was the policy of a country such as China, Saudi Arabia or a perceived third world country, we would be screaming from the rooftops and no doubt the country in question would have sanctions placed on them until they towed the line or brought to breaking point. To welcome President Trump with open arms to the UK on a State visit is neither palatable nor in-keeping with UK or UN policy (which we have signed) on the rights of the child to live free from abuse and deprivation of liberty. 

Whatever politics we follow, there can be no justification for us as a nation to welcome him into our country and collude with this abuse of power and policy for the sake of fostering trade agreements or a “special relationship”. We must be more humane than this and send a clear message to Mr Trump, his continued abuse of power and disregard for the international community as President of the United States will not be tolerated.